Ferdinand with a treat she found.

Ferdinand with a treat she found.

Our white chicken disappeared.

We closed the coop later in the evening when it was already dark and we assumed they were all inside. (They naturally go into the coop as night approaches.) I opened the coop the next morning and went about my day.

The chickens stick together most of the time but when one needs to lay an egg, she goes back to the coop by herself for a bit then rejoins the “flock” when she’s done.

All of that to say, I didn’t notice that she was gone until many hours had passed.

Our chickens are not our pets. They do not have names. We like them but we do not love them. They are not part of the family.

But…

The white chicken was a cheeky hen who had too much personality to NOT earn a name,

So my husband and I called her Ferdinand (yes I know it’s a male name) after the mischievous duck from the movie Babe. It fit her.

In honor of Ferdinand, I offer this short poem.

Where’d You Go?

Your tail feathers cut a line through the air, stiff and sharp.

Ferdinand, where’d you go?

Rather than peck at your food or mill around with the ladies,

you snuck out through the nesting box,

anxious to begin your day.

Bright eyes, inquisitive with unspoken questions,

you cock your head,

bemused to find we won’t let you in the front door

even though you wait patiently.

You run toward me, skirts swept up, feathery petticoats charging up the hill,

your gaggle close behind

for the promise of

bread scraps, leftover oatmeal, limp lettuce.

Stark contrast of white against jaunty red comb,

You stand out amongst your more camouflaged friends

like a white-blond in a room of brunettes.

I like to think you took yourself on a road trip,

got cabin fever and went to visit some ducks across the pond.

Maybe you’ll show up at our door like no time passed,

tiny suitcase next to you and a grin on your beak.

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